Alexandra Cousteau visits Philippines to show support for sustainable fisheries reforms

Conservation advocate Alexandra Cousteau, senior adviser to Oceana, is in town since August 29 and up to September 11 to promote awareness on sustainable fisheries management and the global fight against illegal fishing practices.

The grandchild of renowned undersea explorer Jacques Cousteau, Alexandra has closely followed in her father, Philippe, and grandfather’s footsteps and has been named a National Geographic Emerging Explorer for her films and advocacy on water issues.

She has been meeting with national and local political authorities, environment officials, representatives from the academe, the youth, and most importantly, local communities who are the front-liners in the campaign to save and protect the oceans.

Cousteau will be exploring the Tañon Strait Protected Seascape, the country’s largest marine protected area, where Oceana is working to end illegal commercial fishing and ensure that artisanal fishers will benefit the most from their municipal waters. She will be diving in Moalboal in Cebu, where the year-round presence of sardine shoals is one of the top attractions in the thriving tourism industry.

In Apo Island in Negros Oriental, she is expected to interact with community leaders, whose strong partnership with the government, private sector and civil society in protecting their rich marine resources has become a sterling model for protected areas.

A series of talks has been lined up for Cousteau on Oceana’s global campaign, “Save the Oceans, Feed the World”, at the Silliman University in Dumaguete, and at the University of Cebu Banilad Campus in Cebu City.

One of the highlights of her visit is a diving trip to El Nido in Palawan, which Jacques Cousteau explored in his boat ‘Calypso’ in the early 1990s. Alexandra will also be focusing on the impact of climate change and illegal fishing practices in El Nido’s coral reefs and the livelihoods of the residents.

Read more:

Alexandra Cousteau: "The choices we make impact our oceans"

Alexandra Cousteau was introduced to the ocean at an early age. She was only three months old when she was brought to her first expedition. She was seven, when her grandfather taught her to dive.

More than being a Cousteau, Alexandra’s whole being is connected to the ocean as she had navigated its wonders, witnessed its diversity, and its abundance throughout her life.

The ocean has always been her way of life. Alexandra said she’d never seen her expeditions as a profession. “I never felt pressured to do this. It was just as much a way of life as a career choice,” she said, “I never really thought of it as a resumé, I just grew up with this.”

Unfortunately, the world does not share the same love the Cousteaus have for the ocean.

“I’ve had the opportunity now to see changes in our oceans, first hand.” Cousteau said on August 30,”And [these were] dramatic changes, not just little changes.”

“I’ve seen places I knew as a child disappear,” she shared.

Alexandra compared the abundance of life her grandfather enjoyed during his time to what she has during hers, and she worries that if the world fails to save the ocean, the future generations may no longer be able to see its beauty.

“I realize that I am standing at this point, where there was amazing abundance that my grandfather knew at my age,” Alexandra shared, ”when my five-year-old daughter was my age, there could be little left for her generation.”

With this, she called for immediate action, ”this is the time for us to act, it’s now, it’s not tomorrow, it’s not the next day, it’s today because the window of opportunity… to bring back a diverse and abundant ocean is closing.”

For four years now, Alexandra serves as an Oceana senior advisor and shares the same vision of saving the world through the oceans.

Being a filmmaker, she used documentaries to show the people how the world can be saved. In this way, not only does she raise awareness, she also educates.

“It is extraordinarily important for us to explore before we exploit because we are losing places before we even know what was there,” she pointed.

“We are very young in our understanding of the oceans, in our ability to protect our oceans. We don’t have that consciousness yet,” she said.

Alexandra expressed her grandfather would’ve been “terribly” alarmed for failing “to stop the momentum of loss, in spite of all [his] efforts.” She recalled when Antarctica was threatened by exploitation, her grandfather, Jacques, lead an initiative to sign a petition.

He gathered “petitions on paper because it wasn’t the Internet age yet,” Alexandra shared, which brought her to point out that today, the world is more capable of saving the ocean.

“Today, we have things we didn’t have before. We have technologies. We have remote-operated vehicles. We have organizations like Oceana. We have the Internet, [which] allows us to communicate with each other and create virtual communities, advocate for a cause,” she said.

In the end, Alexandra reminded: “The ocean starts in our backyard. They start at our the dinner table. They start in our supermarkets. They start in our gutters – that’s where the oceans begin. The choices we make… in all this different ways impact our oceans.”


Explorer Cousteau’s granddaughter urges Pinoys to protect Tañon, oceans

A NATIONAL Geographic emerging explorer and the granddaughter of popular explorer and scientist Jacques-Yves Cousteau yesterday called for ocean conservation especially in the Tañon Strait Protective Seascape (TSPS) in the country.

Alexandra Cousteau, who was in Cebu City yesterday, joined the Ocean Talks forum together with government officials at the Cebu City Sports Club.

“What brings us together today is the opportunity to restore the abundance in the oceans,” Cousteau said in her speech.

Cousteau is the current senior advisor of Oceana. She joined the international nongovernment organization in 2011 to help the advocacy through expeditions.

“Philippines belongs to the Filipino people. You are the center of the biodiversity in this planet,” she added.

For her, what is important is the opportunity to restore the ocean and it is meaningful.

“Conservation is not just sacrifice. This is not just about the whales, dolphins and turtles but to restore these resources for people,” Cousteau said.

Conservation is also an opportunity to make better for everyone.

Despite TSPS being protected, Cousteau said this needs enforcement of the law.

“This needs more boats, more people along the Tañon Strait,” she added.

In 1988, former president Fidel Ramos issued Presidential Decree 1234 that proclaimed the Tañon Strait as a protected area where commercial fishing is prohibited. It is an important migration corridor that is 161 km long where 14 species of sea mammals, 18,830 ha. of coral reefs and 5,000 ha of mangrove areas with 26 known mangrove species are found.

Cousteau will be staying in the country for 12 days. Aside from Cebu, she also went to Apo Island in Negros Oriental. She will also leave today for Palawan.

Baltazar Tribunalo, head of Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (PDRMMO); Elias Fernandez Jr., Department of Interior and Local Government-Central Visayas (DILG-7) assistant regional director; and Alan Poquita, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in Central Visayas (BFAR-7) assistant regional director were among the government officials who attended the Ocean Talk forum.

“Let us work together in terms of laws and enforcement. Let us help the lives of the fishermen,” said Tribunalo, who represented Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III and assured of the governor’s support in protecting the ocean.

Fernandez and Poquita also promised to support Costeau’s advocacy to protect the ocean.
“We will not abandon (Tañon Strait) and will collectively work with other government agencies for this advocacy,” said Poquita.

Read more: 
Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook

Explorer Jacques Cousteau was a magical man, says granddaughter Alexandra

For decades until his death in 1997, Jacques Cousteau brought the oceans to our living rooms, taking us with him in his mission to save the seas. In his explorations he expanded mankind's knowledge of the undersea world, and in his films he shared this knowledge with us, children in the '70s and '80s watching rapt as he and his crew traveled the sea in his famous boat, Calypso.

He was also an innovator, helping to develop an open-circuit type of self-contained underwater breathing apparatus called the Aqua-Lung in 1943 that soon became better known by its acronym, scuba.

He was a man whose greatness was recognized in his lifetime: He rubbed shoulders with presidents and kings and was made a Commander of the Legion of Honor by his homeland France.

To Alexandra Cousteau, however, he was more than that: He was a doting grandfather who introduced her to the oceans and the cause of marine conservation in a way that a small child could understand and appreciate.

"I would visit him at the Oceanographic Museum in Monaco and we would have games where I would be the mermaid princess and he would be the steward king of this underwater universe and he'd talk about how we had to take care of them," she said.

"We had these moments together. He was a magical man."

Alexandra, 40, is the third generation of Cousteaus to explore the seas and lead the charge in saving them, along with her brother Philippe Jr. and cousins Fabien and Celine. In 2011 she joined international marine conservation organization Oceana as a senior adviser. Last week, she arrived in the country to assist Oceana Philippines in campaigning for the protection of two of the country's biodiversity hotspots, the Tañon Strait Protected Seascape in the Visayas and the vast Benham Rise off Luzon.

A special trip to Palawan

In the five years she has been with Oceana, Alexandra has traveled the world, making documentaries and advocating the conservation of the world's waters.

Last December she was in Belize, where a campaign was underway to stop oil drilling in one of the world's largest coral reef systems. "The government had carved it up into different sections that could be leased through oil exploration and drilling, and obviously that would have been a disaster," she told reporters in Makati City on Tuesday. "Imagine an oil rig over the [Great] Blue Hole, this iconic place. So there was this campaign that included community involvement, political advocacy and it included the press...[and it was] a huge victory that Oceana was able to get. So I got to be part of that; it was very exciting."

But the Philippines is rather a special trip for her. In the early '90s, just a few years before his death, Jacques Cousteau explored El Nido in Palawan in his boat, Calypso. Now Alexandra is bringing her five-year-old daughter there to snorkel for the first time.

"My family's here with me—I have a five-year-old daughter and an 11-month-old-son—and I'll be able to take my daughter snorkeling for the first time in Palawan, which will be extremely special for her and for me as well," she said. "There are so few places [like that] left in the world, and to be able to share a place like that with my child is extraordinarily meaningful. Because part of her history, her legacy, are the oceans, love for the oceans and conservation of the oceans.

"I want her as a child to experience them the way my grandfather experienced them and my father experienced them, and how I experienced them as a child. Places like El Nido are increasingly museums; they remind us of how the oceans used to be everywhere, and are now still existing in just a handful of places."

Filmmaking is as much a part of the Cousteau legacy as exploration and conservation, and in Palawan, Alexandra and Oceana will be filming for a documentary on the oceans. "It will be the first place we will film in," she said. "I can't wait!"

The next generation of Cousteaus

Alexandra and her brother Philippe are the children of Jacques' younger son Philippe, who was killed in a plane mishap in 1979. Fabien and Celine are the children of Jacques' eldest son Jean-Michel. Like Jacques, they are all explorers and filmmakers.

Alexandra said there was never any question about her joining the family business. Indeed, she is a practiced speaker, sharing her vision and plans with ease. "I never felt pressured to do this," she said. "It was as much a way of life as a career choice. I just grew up with this."

Alexandra also enjoys the traveling aspect of her job. "My favorite moment is when I step off a plane in a place I've never been before and I can see the faces and hear the voices and smell the air and hear the sounds of that new place," she said. "I know there's an adventure that awaits and I don't know what's going to happen, but I know it's going to be great. I love being on an expedition with my crew and telling a story together, having a common purpose. These are the things that matter to me in terms of why I do what I do. I like working on things that I believe in. I like feeling like my values and my choices are aligned with how I spend my time and the choices I make for myself and my family."

It's an attitude that her daughter seems to have inherited along with the family love for the oceans. Alexandra says that when she was trying to explain to her five-year-old that she would be meeting with reporters here, her child instructed her to pass on a message.

"She said, 'You tell all those people that you'll see tomorrow that the oceans are wonderful and they're great and they're special and so important for all of us.' So I've passed on my message," she laughed.

- See more at:

Alexandra Cousteau to support sustainable fisheries reforms in Philippines visit

Conservation advocate Alexandra Cousteau, senior adviser to Oceana, is visiting the Philippines from August 29 to September 11 to promote awareness on sustainable fisheries management and the global fight against illegal fishing practices.

THE grandchild of renowned undersea explorer Jacques Cousteau, Alexandra, has closely followed in her father, Philippe, and grandfather's footsteps and has been named a National Geographic Emerging Explorer for her films and advocacy on water issues.

During her visit, she will be meeting with national and local political authorities, environment officials, representatives from the academe, the youth, and the local communities who are the front-liners in the campaign to save and protect the oceans.

Cousteau will be exploring the Tañon Strait Protected Seascape, the country's largest marine protected area, where Oceana is working to end illegal commercial fishing and ensure that artisanal fishers will benefit the most from their municipal waters.

She will be diving in Moalboal in Cebu, where the year-round presence of sardine shoals is one of the top attractions in the thriving tourism industry.

In Apo Island in Negros Oriental, she is expected to interact with community leaders, whose strong partnership with the government, private sector and civil society in protecting their rich marine resources has become a sterling model for protected areas.

A much sought after speaker, Cousteau will talk about Oceana's global campaign, "Save the Oceans, Feed the World", at the Silliman University in Dumaguete, and at the University of Cebu Banilad Campus in Cebu City.

One of the highlights of her visit is a diving trip to El Nido in Palawan, which Jacques Cousteau explored in his boat "Calypso" in the early 1990s. 

Alexandra will be looking at the impact of climate change and illegal fishing practices in El Nido's coral reefs and the livelihoods of the residents.

Read more:

Cousteau Advocates Legacy Building, Environmental Protection

Environmentalist and explorer Alexandra Cousteau (COL ’98) encouraged graduates to take control of their own legacies, maintain a sense of wonder and preserve the planet in a commencement address to the Georgetown College Class of 2016 in McDonough Arena on Saturday.

The graduation was held in McDonough Arena instead of on Healy Lawn due to rain. The College’s commencement was split into two ceremonies in order to accommodate the graduates and their families, with students with last names beginning with letters A through K attending a ceremony at 9 a.m. and students with last names beginning with letters L through Z graduating in a ceremony at 11:30 a.m.

Cousteau, the granddaughter of famed French oceanographer, filmmaker and conservationist Jacque Cousteau, delivered her address at both ceremonies. Cousteau was selected as a National Geographic Emerging Explorer in 2008, and has been involved in conservation advocacy in the past decade.

University President John J. DeGioia offered remarks at the earlier ceremony but did not take part in the later ceremony, as he was attending the concurrent graduation for the School of Nursing and Health Studies in the Leavey Center Ballroom.

Cousteau, who received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree, said the graduating students stand prepared to lead the future, calling attention to the students’ families.

“You began at their bosoms and on their laps; they carried you when you were too tired to walk. You are the living embodiment of what they hoped for the future. They made a person — you — and sent you out to learn and observe and become ready to inherit the future,” Cousteau said.

Cousteau reflected both on her grandfather’s influence on her childhood and on the way her time as an undergraduate at Georgetown affected her. She urged graduates not to let their families’ histories and expectations define them, but to instead actively seek to shape the legacies with which they are left.

“I grew up seeing my life play out in the context of continuing my grandfather’s legacy, continuing his work, furthering his ideas, settling his unfinished business. But it was here at Georgetown that I started to find my own voice, that I found my own passions, interests and causes, that my own path started to appear,” Cousteau said. “I realize now that legacy is something you inherit, yes, but it need not be something you passively receive and accept.”

Cousteau said exploration must be defined — and approached — differently in a time when technology gives people instant access to the rest of the world, contrasting this to her grandfather’s experience.

“We have a radically new relationship with information and the technology that provides it. We carry in our pockets access to the vast accumulation of human knowledge. … Given this great wealth of access, discovering something never before seen is a good deal more difficult, but discovering new ways to look at what we already know is an exploratory attitude anyone can practice,” Cousteau said.

Cousteau urged the graduates to try to look at the world once again with a childhood wonder, recounting her own experience of being enthralled as a child by tadpoles and their transformation into frogs.

“To gaze with this kind of wonder brings an indescribable comfort, a sense that all there ever was, is, or will be, is actually a part of one grand thing. You — all of you — are part of one grand thing,” Cousteau said. “To remain aware of this, to see through those eyes, is a way to guard yourself against the disillusionment, detachment and apathy that do so much harm to the human spirit. If you can retain the ability to look at the world with that sense of wonder, you’ll come to know it in a deeper and more profound way than you might have thought possible.”

Cousteau pivoted from talking about the importance of maintaining a sense of wonder about the world to discussing the environmental problems the planet faces. Taking steps to protect the environment is urgently needed, according to Cousteau.

“This world badly needs our protection right now. My own sense of wonder for this planet, and all her various little miracles, is matched only by my increasing sense of panic for what we’re losing. … I fear that at a time when technological advances have made the citizens of the world more socially connected than ever before, we have become distracted from the connectedness we share with every micro and macro organism on this planet. For human beings and the planet we share, the situation is dire,” Cousteau said.

Cousteau said the graduates’ generation will help decide the future of the environment.

“A part of your legacy is this uncertain future. Nothing short of a total shift away from our carbon-based economy can address the planetary emergency we all face,” Cousteau said. “Yours is the generation that will impose a radical reconsideration of how we live in this world, how we consume resources, how we restore natural capital, how we protect the future from the excesses of the past. You will be the brave architects of this new world.”

After Cousteau’s speech, the 789 graduates of the Class of 2016 received their diplomas from College Dean Chester Gillis.

New Doc from Nat Geo, C&A Highlights Business Case for Organic Cotton Production

Cotton is planted on 2.4 percent of the world’s crop land and yet it accounts for 24 percent and 11 percent of the global sales of insecticide and pesticides, respectively. Organic cotton represents less than 1 percent of the global total annual crop, but National Geographic, international clothing brand C&A, and activist and filmmaker Alexandra Cousteau believe that needs to change.

A new 60-minute documentary, “For the Love of Fashion,” emphasizes “the need for a paradigm shift in the cotton value chain.” Cousteau, a National Geographic Emerging Explorer and a recognized leader on water issues, travels to India, the United States and Germany to help viewers understand the global need for more organic cotton. In the film, she meets local cotton farmers in Madhya Pradesh, India whose lives have “improved considerably” after changing from conventional to sustainable methods of production, and interviews industry leaders in the U.S. and Germany, including sustainability experts from C&A.

Cousteau spoke passionately about the issue at a screening event in Berlin: “Approximately half of all clothes manufactured globally are created with cotton, but conventional cotton farming risks harming our planet irreparably.” Through her own talent for storytelling, she is continuing the work of her renowned grandfather Jacques-Yves Cousteau and father Philippe Cousteau.

“We are excited to support a documentary that provides a window into more sustainable cotton practices. Ultimately, we would like to inspire brands and consumers that more sustainable cotton has significant advantages for people and the planet,” said Jeffrey Hogue, Chief Sustainability Officer at C&A.

“European Fashion Consumers need to understand that their choice matters in order to support a sustainable development in cotton growing countries,” Hogue added.

C&A has previously collaborated with organizations such as CanopyStyle and Ashoka on initiatives to improve its supply chain, and the company asserts that there are substantial economic and environmental benefits of using organic cotton. In 2012, C&A claims it became the world’s largest retailer of organic cotton garments, selling 85 million pieces representing 30 percent of its cotton revenue. In 2013, the latter figure reached 38 percent.

It is worth noting that companies have sustainable sourcing options other than organic; for example, as of late last year, IKEA exclusively sources according to the Better Cotton Standard.

For the Love of Fashion will premiere on the National Geographic Channel beginning later this month in various European countries, Mexico, Brazil, and China. Airing times for the United States, United Kingdom and Canada have yet to be announced. You can check listings for local airing times by market at

Filmmaker Alexandra Cousteau to deliver Luther College's 2016 Commencement address

Filmmaker, environmentalist and third-generation explorer Alexandra Cousteau will share insights gained from a lifetime of world travel and water advocacy during the Luther College Commencement address Sunday, May 22, in Decorah.

Commencement ceremonies begin at 10 a.m. in Carlson Stadium on the Luther campus. Tickets are required for those attending the ceremony. Guests with tickets should be seated by 9:45 a.m.

Guests without tickets will be able to view the live stream of the ceremony in the Center for Faith and Life Main Hall and Marty's in the lower level of Dahl Centennial Union. The ceremony will be streamed live at

Cousteau is the granddaughter of Jacques-Yves Cousteau, a world-renowned explorer famous for recording his discoveries in books and documentaries, as well as pioneering the field of marine conservation. Jacques-Yves, together with Cousteau's father, Philippe Cousteau, produced "The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau," an award-winning television series showcasing the wonders of the ocean.

Carrying on the family legacy of exploring and describing the natural world, Cousteau joined her parents on expeditions before she could walk. She has since traveled around the world, building her own legacy around water conservation and advocacy.

She is the founder of Blue Legacy International, a non-profit organization with the mission of empowering people to reclaim and restore the world's waters. Cousteau has produced more than 100 award-winning films for Blue Legacy, filming across six continents.

Cousteau has received a number of awards and honors for her work. She was honored in 2008 as a National Geographic Emerging Explorer, an award recognizing visionary young trailblazers who push the boundaries of discovery, adventure and global problem solving. The World Economic Forum also named her as one of its 2010 Young Global Leaders.

Cousteau and her family share their time between Washington, D.C., and Berlin, Germany.

A national liberal arts college with an enrollment of 2,400, Luther offers an academic curriculum that leads to the bachelor of arts degree in more than 60 majors and pre-professional programs. For more information about Luther visit the college's website:

Alexandra Cousteau visits Belize for marine conservation

Oceana’s Senior Advisor, Alexandra Cousteau, who is also an Ocean Explorer and National Geographic filmmaker, arrived in Belize on December 6th and departed today after meeting with several stakeholders in marine conservation.

During her stay, Cousteau met with Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega to discuss sustainability in management, Mayor of San Pedro Daniel Guerrero, Councilor Gary Grief and other tourism partners to talk about opportunities and challenges facing the island that is the country’s biggest tourist destination.

She also met with various prominent fishermen from across the country, including Dennis Garbutt from Punta Gorda, who explained to Cousteau how gillnets are devastating some important fish species and she snorkeled the Hol Chan, as well as Gladden Spit Marine Reserves with their employees who spoke of seaweed cultivation as an alternative livelihood opportunity.

Cousteau’s main reason for visiting though, was to give her speech at the Energy of Nature vs. Nature of Energy Science Symposium, which was held last week Wednesday. In her address, she expressed her love for Belize and all its marine resources and pledged to do her best to preserve them.

Alexandra Cousteau: Setting Her Own Sail

Smart Meetings Magazine

Alexandra Cousteau builds on her famous family’s environmental work in her own unique ways

While growing up in France and the United States, Alexandra Cousteau spent a good deal of time with her grandfather—legendary underwater explorer and filmmaker Jacques-Yves Cousteau—and discovered that they shared a deep passion.

“We would talk about the stars, the seas and living creatures; I asked him a million questions,” she says. “He could relate to my curiosity because he had the same childlike wonder and awe in him. It was really beautiful.”

Cousteau has been immersed in the natural world since infancy. She joined her parents, Philippe and Jan, on an Easter Island expedition when she was four months old. By the age of 3 she had toured Africa with her father, and four years later her grandfather taught her how to scuba dive.

Like her famous French grandfather, Cousteau, 39, has maintained this passionate curiosity into adulthood and now is a world-renowned environmentalist. She and her brother, Philippe Cousteau Jr., co-founded EarthEcho International in 2000 to honor the legacy of their father by providing youth with resources to identify and solve environmental challenges, starting in their own communities.

She was selected as a National Geographic Emerging Explorer in 2008, and that same year founded Blue Legacy International to continue her family’s work preserving oceans and freshwater sources. Cousteau also serves as a senior adviser to Oceana, the largest international organization committed to ocean conservation.

A principal focus of her work has involved traveling throughout the world with the Blue Legacy team, which seeks “to empower people to reclaim and restore the world’s water, one community at a time.” The organization has been collaborating with citizens, business leaders and elected officials to increase public awareness and inspire actions to steward water resources more responsibly. Blue Legacy has been sharing its findings through mainstream and social media, along with more than 100 short films.

Inspiring Others to Act

During her travels, Cousteau has made a point of listening to people’s personal experiences. She draws from their stories in the many talks she delivers annually to meeting groups and other gatherings throughout the world. Like her grandfather, she is a masterful, inspirational storyteller.

“I tell real-life stories that appeal to everyone,” Cousteau says. “I speak to people in red and blue states, to the rich and poor, to the young and old. And I engage my audiences. I’ve found that there’s a core that we all share, and I try to inspire people to take the first step to protect their communities.”

Some of her talks include the stories she heard while traveling on a 100-day Blue Legacy expedition across five continents in 2009 and on a 138-day, 18,000-mile venture across the United States, Canada and Mexico in a custom biodiesel production bus in 2010.

“During the 2010 expedition, I noticed something in America that I hadn’t seen in other parts of the world,” she says. “I saw how communities were starting to come together to protect what they love. I dug down to the individual level to find out why people were doing this.”

People shared childhood memories of fishing and other local aquatic experiences, and lamented how irresponsible use of resources has eliminated or curtailed these activities.

“They shared their passion,” Cousteau says. “My grandfather used to say, ‘People protect what they love, and they love what they know.’ I discovered that instead of writing a check to help a situation in Madagascar, for example, people want to get involved in protecting the area where they grew up, and that they love.”

She has posed three major challenges for people: Make a difference in the global water crisis by connecting with organizations that are making a difference; manage your own personal water footprint; and get involved on your own waterfront.

Fostering Collaboration

Cousteau found that many people are bonding together to address water issues so that their children will live in more healthy, robust and balanced natural communities. This isn’t the only benefit, though. “Opening children’s eyes to the wonders of nature also has immeasurable value,” Cousteau says.

She thinks that community efforts can be further strengthened by producing more concrete evidence of the extent of water resource problems. “One thing that is needed is an aggregate of water-quality data, because data is fragmented now. We need to be able to tell the story of places in a compelling way that is rooted in facts, rather than being just anecdotal,” she says.

Cousteau feels that Americans have been very receptive to her family’s efforts. “They have been very generous with their support,” she says. “Hollywood, not the French, created Cousteau by investing heavily in my grandfather’s films. Americans will embrace seemingly crazy ideas and come up with ingenious and extraordinary ways to tackle problems. It’s an appetite I’ve rarely seen elsewhere.”

Continuing a Legacy

Cousteau views her contributions as an evolution of the work of her grandfather and father, an oceanographer and documentary filmmaker who died at the age of 38 in a boat crash in 1979. She was 3 years old and doesn’t have any clear memories of him.

“The challenges that I face are different than those faced by my grandfather and father because environmental issues have changed, and so has technology,” she says. “My grandfather was a pioneer who embarked on a new path when in his 40s, but he didn’t become an environmentalist overnight. My father was an environmentalist much earlier in his life.”

Philippe Cousteau produced several documentaries with his father, including Voyage to the Edge of the World, and produced his own cutting-edge PBS series about environmental issues, Oasis in Space, before his tragic death.“He was ahead of his time,” Cousteau says.

Environmental issues have steadily and significantly changed since then. “The issues are more urgent and the funding situation [to address them] is very different,” Cousteau says. “There’s a lot less money to go around. But now it’s possible to create community virtually, rather than just geographically. I want to look at how we can harness this technology and the ways people can tell and weave themselves into stories.”

Facing Current Challenges

Cousteau feels that many challenges loom ahead to successfully address water-resource problems. “It’s easy to get depressed when we see destruction caused by things such as droughts and oil spills,” she says. “But then you look at how quickly we can change the world when we put our minds to it.

“I think that we’re coming to the conclusion that we need to protect our natural resources if we want to maintain a way of life that keeps people healthy and happy. I think we’re waking up to the immeasurable value of preserving our environment and feel confident that we will see more changes.”

She now splits time between Washington, D.C., and Berlin with her husband, German architect Fritz Neumeyer, and their 4-year-old daughter, Clementine. Cousteau is fluent in English, French and Spanish. “I’m culturally French and feel at home in Europe,” she says.

Cousteau lights up when she talks about the happy times she shares exploring the natural world with her daughter. Their experiences are reminiscent of those Cousteau shared with her grandfather.

“I want her to be a part of all that I’m doing, just as I was with my family when I was growing up,” Cousteau says. “We love to go exploring together. We go to the lake and forest, where we climb over logs and find things to put in a bug jar. Right now her goal is to ride horses with me.”

Clementine travels around the world with her family, as Cousteau did during her childhood. Before boarding a plane to Greece recently, Clementine went up to one of the pilots and in true Cousteau fashion, excitedly announced her objective: “I’m going on an adventure!” she said.

We Need to Empower Everyone to Tackle Water Issues


As we enjoy the last of summer, I find myself reflecting on the last few months with bittersweet memories. While swimming in the Pacific Ocean and sailing on Lake Champlain, Vermont, I have enjoyed the best our water resources have to offer. News reports across the U.S., however, have been a reminder that our water systems are increasingly at risk of nutrient pollution.

Algal bloom on Lake Erie. Photo credit: Peter Essick, National Geographic / Resource Out of Place Visualization 2015

North Carolina’s Chowan River, the Great Lakes and the entire Pacific coasthave experienced hazardous algal blooms this year that have prevented recreational activity, threatened the health of aquatic species and even endangered the health of communities living along these waterways.

I cannot imagine, and do not want, a future where our water is too polluted to enjoy the gifts it brings our lives.

Changing the course of our water future requires a collaborative approach that informs and empowers everyone—from national leaders and scientists to community groups and individual citizens. While efforts like the U.S. Open Water Data Initiative are championing unprecedented transparency of water information, there is a need to translate the complex science behind water data into tangible and accessible opportunities to increase the general public’s understanding of the state of water in the U.S.

With today’s innovative technology achievements, we know its possible to bring the power of storytelling and the science of water data together to inform communities and disturb the water management status quo.

The U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Blue Legacy International hosted the 2015 Visualizing Nutrients Challenge where solvers produced creative and compelling interpretations of nutrient water data demonstrating the possibilities for communicating risks, impacts and solutions related to nutrient pollution.

The visualization created by Matthew Seibert, Benjamin Wellington and Eric Roy of Landscape Metrics won the first price in the challenge for its interactive tutorial about algal blooms on Lake Erie, a water body that the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts will see algae growth this year that could rival the record-setting 2011 bloom.

Between government policy and engagement like the Visualizing Nutrients Challenge, momentum is building and public awareness of water issues is improving. Now is the time to come together around kitchen counters, in city halls and across conference tables to take collective action toward a more sustainable water future that is championed by each and every one of us.

Cousteau: Obama can still prevent an Arctic catastrophe

Seattle Times Op-Ed by Alexandra Cousteau

President Obama should use his upcoming trip to Alaska to press for enhanced safeguards for the Arctic Ocean.

OCEANS connect our world. More than 70 percent of the planet is covered by ocean waters, and those waters are an integral part of our economies, cultures and food supply.

Yet human impacts, including acidification, noise, oil spills and habitat disruption endanger the world’s oceans. As a species, however, we are not helpless against these dangers to our important aquatic resources. Meaningful action to curb emissions of greenhouse gases, protect important places from risky industrial activities and move toward renewable sources of energy would go a long way to ensuring that future generations have healthy ocean ecosystems.

The Arctic Ocean exemplifies this urgent need for change and we must act now. North of Alaska, the Arctic Ocean is one the last intact ecosystems largely untouched by large-scale industrial activity. It supports vibrant communities whose residents have depended on the ocean for millennia and it is home to majestic animals, such as bowhead whales, polar bears, walrus and ice seals.

The Arctic is also increasingly threatened. Climate change is causing the Arctic region to warm faster than anywhere else on Earth, and factors like low salinity make the Arctic Ocean especially susceptible to acidification. On top of these changes, receding sea ice is making the region increasingly available for industrialization. Shipping and oil and gas exploration bring with them pollution and the risk of a major oil spill.

As I write this, Shell has mounted yet another effort to drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean. The company’s last try, in 2012, resulted in mishaps, fines, government investigations and, of course, the grounding of its drill rig, the Kulluk. Investigators blamed Shell’s problems in large measure on the company’s failure to appreciate or mitigate the risks inherent in operating in one of the most remote and dangerous places on Earth.

This year, Shell submitted plans that did not comply with important protections for walrus — then tried to get the government to create an exception to those protections. It had problems during testing of its containment dome: the same dome that was famously “crushed like a beer can” in tests in Puget Sound in 2012. And, most recently, one of the company’s icebreakers suffered a 3-foot gash in its hull transiting known shallow waters when a safer route was available.

These problems add to the reality that neither Shell nor any other company is prepared to respond to a spill in icy Arctic waters. Five years ago, we watched as the Deepwater Horizon exploded and sank, killing 11 people and causing hundreds of millions of gallons of oil to pour into the Gulf of Mexico uncontrolled over 87 days. That catastrophe occurred in warm waters, close to response infrastructure. A spill in the Arctic would be a thousand miles from the nearest Coast Guard facilities in a region with high winds, waves, darkness and ice. Response would be impossible.

All of this — and yet the government has granted Shell new approvals to drill exploration wells. It is hard for me to reconcile that choice with President Obama’s stated commitments to protecting our oceans and to addressing climate change. The president, though, has a unique opportunity to chart a new course for the Arctic. He will be traveling to Alaska at the end of August as part of the kickoff to the United States’ chairmanship of the Arctic Council. The administration has started on the right track in establishing action to address climate change and ocean acidification as a priority for the U.S. chairmanship of the council.

Moving forward, we need bold action for the Arctic Ocean. The government should not feel beholden to poorly planned, multibillion-dollar investments made by oil companies. Instead, choices about whether to allow risky oil and gas activities must be made in the broader context of the need to address climate change, protect the Arctic, and plan for the future.

I hope that the president’s visit to Alaska will begin this broader conversation. After all, if we don’t act now to protect the Arctic Ocean, we might not get another chance.

Alexandra Cousteau to Receive Stroud Award For Freshwater Excellence

Stroud Center

Her grandfather, Jacques, and father, Philippe, advocated for the world’s oceans, but Alexandra Cousteau understood that most of the oceans’ problems are occurring at the source — way upstream. So, in 2009, she founded Blue Legacy. 

Blue Legacy explores the interconnectivity of freshwater and ocean issues around the globe and tells those stories through short films, news and social media to build public awareness. It aims to empower people to reclaim and restore water resources.

A Credible Voice For Freshwater Stewardship

Cousteau will receive the Stroud Award for Freshwater Excellence™ at our annual Water’s Edge gala, on November 19 at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.

“Alexandra has dedicated her life to the conservation and sustainable management of water and provides a credible voice for freshwater stewardship on a global scale,” said Bern Sweeney, Ph.D., director of the Stroud Center. “She honors her family’s legacy, and I am thrilled that she will be here to receive the 2015 Stroud Award for Freshwater Excellence.”

Honored as a Young Global Leader and Emerging Explorer

In addition to her work with Blue Legacy, Cousteau serves as senior advisor to Oceana; was named as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum; and serves on the boards of the Global Water Challenge, Mother Nature Network and EarthEcho.

Cousteau served as a keynote speaker on environmental issues for organizations such as the United Nations, National Geographic, Harvard University, the Smithsonian Institution, the National Press Club, Bioneers and the Telluride Film Festival.

In 2008, Cousteau was honored as a National Geographic Emerging Explorer — one among a group of eleven trailblazers from around the world who push the boundaries of discovery, adventure and global problem-solving. 

In early 2009, she joined the Discovery Channel lineup, co-hosting “Blue August” with her brother Philippe Jr., and served as a chief correspondent on water issues for the Discovery Channel’s Planet Green.

She served as the water advisor and spokesperson for the global Live Earth 2010 Run for Water. Cousteau has been honored as an Earth Trustee by the U.N., was named a Principal Voice by CNN International, and regularly delivers testimony before government agencies on critical policy issues.

Born in California, Cousteau grew up in France and the United States. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in political science from Georgetown University. Cousteau, her husband, Fritz Neumeyer, and daughter, Clémentine, call both the District of Columbia and Berlin, Germany, home.

The Stroud Award for Freshwater Excellence

Presented each year since 2011, the Stroud Award for Freshwater Excellence, also known as the SAFE Water Award, honors individuals, institutions or organizations whose work contributes broadly to the conservation and protection of freshwater resources and ecosystems, improving the quantity and quality of fresh water on the planet or developing policies and practices which help perpetuate clean fresh water for future generations and wildlife.

Prior recipients include Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in 2014; Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., and Kathryn Sullivan, Ph.D., in 2013; John Briscoe, Ph.D., in 2012; and Olivia Newton-John and her husband, John Easterling, in 2011.

Filmmaker, Explorer and International Activist for Water Conservation Alexandra Cousteau, Will Visit the Areas Contaminated by Chevron in the Ecuadorian Rainforest

QUITO, Ecuador, Nov. 22 /CSRwire/ - Alexandra Cousteau will visit this week the areas that were contaminated by Texaco, now Chevron, in the Ecuadorean Amazon, to convey to the world the situation that the affected communities lived through in the last few decades due to the company’s denial to correct the immense environmental damage.

Cousteau arrives in Ecuador invited by the National Secretariat of Communication of Ecuador as a part of the campaign launched by President Rafael Correa last September 17, to inform the world about the environmental disaster left by Chevron when it operated there between 1964 and 1990. During that time, Chevron used the wrong methods to manage the toxic waste as a result of oil drilling, deliberately spilling 18,000 gallons of toxic water and derivatives in unprotected pools, contaminating the soil, rivers and aquifers in the areas where it operated.

The environmental filmmaker will visit one of the sites where Chevron-Texaco operated to verify the contamination caused by these pools that had no protection in the Rainforest.

Alexandra Cousteau has achieved world recognition through her impeccable narrative, a tradition she took from her family (she is the granddaughter of well known activist, photographer and explorer Jacques Cousteau and is the daughter of film director Philippe Cousteau) and thus has the singular capacity to motivate her audience in relevant issues, like conservation rules and the politics of action. As a consultant for Oceania, Cousteau is dedicated to the promotion and defense of the preservation and sustainable management of water resources on behalf of the planet.

Cousteau’s participation in this solidarity crusade with the people affected and Ecuador, joins the recent visits by actor Danny Glover, oil expert Antonia Juhasz and the Mayor of Richmond, California, Gayle Mclaughin, who confirmed the environmental damage caused at the Aguarico 4 well, in the Province of Sucumbios, left by Chevron in 1986. Actress Cher also published a video to support the affected communities and promoted a boicot in the US against Chevron. Meanwhile, Human Rights activist Bianca Jagger wrote and article and accompanied a group of Ecuadoreans in a protest in New York against the judicial actions Chevron has taken against the affected and their lawyers, in a New York court.

In February 2011, a Court in Sucumbios ordered Chevron to pay $18.3 millions for environmental contamination and for affecting the health of the residents. Chevron has not paid saying, among other things, that the judicial order was obtained by fraud by the attorneys representing the people. Right before the ruling, Chevron sued the people and their attorneys and the trial started last October 15. The judge Lewis Kaplan has been accused by the defendants of siding with the oil company and of repeatedly acting against the Ecuadorean defendants in the partial rulings before the trial.

'Nobility of purpose' will encourage environmental projects

Superyacht News

The final day of The Global Superyacht Forum began with an emotive session by Alexandra Cousteau from Oceana, addressing the environmental concerns that affect the seas which the superyacht market so rely on.

Cousteau presented the audience with an honest portrayal of the consequences of over-fishing, bycatch and pollution, with statistics and a video. So far the superyacht industry has had no large part in the driving force for change, and Cousteau encouraged members in the audience to consider what they could do to help.

"We have learned more about the oceans than ever before," she explained, "but we have also lost more than ever before."

With the slogan "Save the oceans, feed the world", Cousteau explained the intentions of Oceana were to push for policy change, research and ocean recovery and for conservation to continue to be a main global concern.

Although the ocean as an environment can recover quickly, the global population growth will slow recovery. Cousteau expressed her concern that there was only a "small window of time" for something to be done. By touching on various examples around the globe, the reality of the situation settled in and the audience began looking to brainstorm solutions and ways for the industry to be involved.

It was suggested that the industry look inwards to its new technologies, its owners, crew and the builders. It was also agreed that there are many owners who would participate in research and expedition and that the industry just needed quantifiable and tangible evidence to move further with it.

Resounding agreement also pointed to education as key driver for change and, in terms of yachting, a 'nobility of purpose' for an owner and a return for investment could make it a more attractive proposition in going forwards for industry involvement in conservation and environmental issues; with a hope for ambassadors and fewer sporadic environmental groups in the industry, instead coming together as one.

Alexandra Cousteau: We have a global water crisis

Muncie Free Press

MUNCIE, INDIANA (NEWS) - In just a few generations, Alexandra Cousteau has seen the Mediterranean Sea go from hosting large fish and sharks to shrimp and octopuss with the threat of gas and oil wells that could make it look like the Gulf of Mexico.

"We have a global water crisis," said the granddaughter of famed ocean explorer Jacque Cousteau and daughter of Phillippe Cousteau.

The activist, explorer and storyteller came to Ball State University Wednesday as part of the Bracken Environmental Speaker Series to talk about water conservation and sustainability.

Her Blue Legacy efforts that traveled around the world told countless stories about water have renewed worldwide efforts at water management. Two years ago, she joined Oceana, an international ocean conservation group that works to protect and restore oceans.

Cousteau said demands on drinking water like rapid population growth and persistent climate change constantly diminished clean water supplies and resulted in more conservation.

Some of her stories seen on National Geographic and Discovery channels illustrate natural wonders like the reserve Mekong River in southeast Asia that provides fish and other aquatic life in forests. Those stories also show the lack water in many desert countries besides others where water was dammed or diverted.

On the issue of dams, like plans to dam White River to create Mounds Lake, Cousteau said there was good and bad dams, and that she always wanted to push the button to blow up a dam.

She talked about problems with damming the Colorado River and other waterways that restricted a river's flow.

Cousteau said her early documentaries worldwide gave some Americans a false impression that the water crisis did not hit home.

Her effort then turned to America where she found countless stories about water needs, pollution and work to protect drinking water.

And the United States has the means and technology like no other country to improve water quality and make sure it is conserved, she said.

The worldwide explorer and activist encouraged students to engage and participate in efforts to conserve and protect water. Recalling the 1970s when the United States passed the Clean Water Act and created the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Cousteau hoped the country would continue to pioneer clean water efforts.

Andy Sharp less, Oceana CEO, said Cousteau came from a family of "ocean heroes" 

"It's in her blood," he said. "She has been at this since her first expedition when she was four months old. She has a level of experience and creditability theta is extremely unique.


Alexandra Cousteau to speak in Charleston, kick off STEM speaker series

The Fayette Tribune

CHARLESTON — Alexandra Cousteau, award-winning filmmaker, National Geographic Explorer and granddaughter of the late Jacques Cousteau, is coming to Charleston on Thursday, Nov. 13. She will be the first in a series of guests who will appear in the Chancellor’s Speaker Series over the next few months.

Cousteau’s presentation, “How to be a Lifelong Explorer: Leadership through the Lens of Exploration & Invention,” will take place at 7 p.m. on Nov. 13 at the West Virginia Culture Center Theater. The event is free and open to the public.

The Chancellor’s Speaker Series is organized by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission’s Division of Science and Research with support from a federal grant from the National Science Foundation. Organizers said that the goal of the series is to promote the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields in West Virginia.

Dr. Jan Taylor, director of the Division of Science and Research, said, “By bringing nationally-renowned speakers, such as Alexandra Cousteau, to the state, we hope to connect a broad audience with fascinating science topics and the people who are passionate about them.”

“Through this speaker series and inspirational individuals, we hope to highlight science and innovation as the bedrocks of a thriving economy — and as an exciting, promising path toward a bright future for our young people,” said Dr. Paul Hill, chancellor of the Higher Education Policy Commission.

Taylor said that Cousteau continues the work of her renowned grandfather and will bring the audience of this event on a story-telling journey from her earliest memories with her grandfather teaching her to scuba dive to her many adventures today.

“She will also provide a unique perspective on how important it is to be not only a curious observer of the world but also an active participant in its preservation,” Taylor said.

While the event is free, the Division of Science and Research requests courtesy RSVPs at

The Division of Science and Research directs the EPSCoR program in West Virginia, while also managing other state and federally-funded academic research programs in the state. It provides strategic leadership for infrastructure advancement and development of competitive research opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines.

Cousteau: Good People Can Work Together for the Environment

The Herald Sun


In 2009, Alexandra Cousteau used a grant from Coca-Cola to travel the developing world for 100 days exploring water conservation issues.

But it wasn’t until a year later, when she spent 150 days traveling around North America, especially the United States, that she came to grips with the real problems. “This is the country that taught me about the crisis and where the solutions are,” Cousteau told an audience Wednesday evening in the Sonja Haynes Stone Center Theater at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.

Cousteau, granddaughter of famed explorer and filmmaker Jacques-Yves Cousteau, spoke at the campus as keynote speaker kicking off Earth Week. She talked about her own experiences making films about the environment, as well as how she has incorporated social media to engage viewers.


2014 New Years Resolution

Huffington Post

Water is our most precious and interconnected natural resource. It sustains all ecosystems, communities, and economies from local watersheds to the seas. It's vital to sustaining our health, safety, and the environments in which we live and work. Simply put, water is life.

With population growing exponentially, weather patterns shifting unpredictably, and increasing demands on freshwater resources, we need a more complete picture of water quality information than we have today, even in developed countries. Our planet's long-term success depends on it.

New Year's Eve is a time of reflection, and commitment to set challenging goals for the future. My Blue Legacy team has been doing just that. For the last six years, we've sparked dialogue, debate, and helped create a voice for our water planet through international filmmaking expeditions, digital media, and events. We've worked with citizens, business leaders, and elected officials to increase public awareness and inspire actions to steward water resources more responsibly.

Our work has been impactful. But we can do more. In 2014, we'll embark on our most audacious and collaborative journey yet.

I've been fortunate to explore bodies of water on all seven continents. And while the people and geographies I've interacted with are incredibly diverse, their frustration to better understand the current state of their water is remarkably universal. Whether at the Great Lakes or the Ganges -− time and again −- I'm amazed at how individuals are deeply concerned about this issue and have no cost-effective way to find the information they seek. But if armed with this information, they could partner with industry, their communities, and their governments to vastly improve how local watersheds and interconnected global water resources are managed.

While Blue Legacy's storytelling heightens public awareness about water quality issues, the most compelling stories are the ones that blend the human experience with the evidence presented by the data.

We live in the instant information age. At each of our fingertips is up-to-the-minute weather forecasts, search functionality for anything, information on what words are trending, what videos have gone viral, and the status updates of hundreds of friends and businesses we follow. Ironically though, current water quality data isn't easily accessible or widely available to the public.

Innovating beyond this challenge will increase transparency, strengthen accountability, and promote collaboration. It will enable water to be managed more sustainably.

Blue Legacy's New Year's resolution is a commitment to harness the power of public-private collaboration and innovative technologies to unearth and share this data to help sustain our water planet. Imagine a time in the near future, when checking water quality will be as easy as checking the weather.

Happy New Year and stay tuned...